Performed by Orchestra of the Swan, Tamsin Waley-Cohen- violin, conducted by David Curtis
Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon 21 April 2016 - Part of Shakespeare 400 commemorations
Choral symphony for choir and orchestra
I. Brave new world (03'56)
II. To thine own self be true (08'31)
III. Never doubt I love (14'04)
IV. Be fire with fire (21'35)
V./VI. Truth will come to light / All the world’s a stage (24'08)
VII. Set me free (27'30)
Postlude (Stay passenger) (32'10)
The choral symphony 'Immortal Shakespeare' brings together three artistic strands- words, visuals and music, in celebration of the timeless words of the Bard. Key to the project are a series of sketches made by J.M.W. Turner on a visit to Stratford-upon-Avon in 1833, which I came across when researching this commission in 2011. The sketches can be arranged to form a journey from birthplace to resting place and on one of these Turner inscribes ‘The Immortal Shakespeare was born in this house’, which gave the title of this choral symphony.
The birthplace to resting place idea is mirrored in the choice of text, as I took Jacques’ famous monologue and compiled a selection of texts from Shakespeare’s plays which chart the seven ages of man: from Infant to Old Age. The final hymn sets the words on Shakespeare's funerary monument at Holy Trinity Church, where the work received its premiere.
The work is commissioned by Orchestra of the Swan and Sorel Organization, with special gratitude to Tate Britain for permission to display some of the sketches and Dominic Dromgoole (Artistic Director, Shakespeare's Globe) for his insightful guidance during the choice of text.